Dead River

Latest episode

  • 6. 6. A Silent War

    In the powerful conclusion of Dead River,  the echoes of centuries past reverberate in the struggle of indigenous people against government and multinational giants. In Episode 6 Liz Bonnin delves into the history of mining's arrival in Brazil and the enduring fight for land rights, autonomy, and sovereignty. Can mining coexist harmoniously with indigenous communities? Are mining companies irredeemable villains, or can they become forces for good? Will this tale find a fairytale ending, and how much longer will the people of Brazil be forced to wait for justice?

More episodes

View all episodes

  • 5. 5. Dead River

    In 2015, after the Mariana dam collapse, biologist Luciano Magalhães declared that the River Doce was dead. In episode 5, Liz Bonnin explores the effect that high levels of toxic metals, thousands of pounds of species die off, and millions of tons of toxic waste have on the River Doce and the residents that rely on it. We hear from people who were forced to leave their homes because they lost their jobs, people whose loved ones they believe died from the effects of the contaminated water, and indigenous leaders who have watched their community suffer unbearable grief and physical illness for years following the collapse. What have the companies involved done to mitigate these risks, and how, if ever, can a river be brought back to life?
  • 4. 4. The Case of 700,000

    Some might say that for the mining giants involved in the Mariana dam collapse, this isn’t just a story about human lives, it’s also a story about the bottom line. BHP and Vale are two of the biggest mining companies in the world, with net worths rivalling nations, and for years, setbacks in the Brazilian justice system have created a struggle to hold these large companies accountable for the destruction the collapse of the dam they own caused. But in 2019, Pogust Goodhead, a London-based global law firm, decided to challenge the status quo of what it means to hold multinational corporations to account. This is the rollercoaster story of how a small law firm fronted by one man grew to represent 700,000 victims in the largest ever class action lawsuit brought in English courts.
  • 3. 3. Patterns of Abuse

    Who is responsible for the collapse of the Mariana dam that killed 19 people, left hundreds of people homeless and  hundreds of thousands of people without access to drinking water? In episode 3, a first hand account from a resident of Papua New Guinea reminds us that this is not the first time the mining company has been involved in a riverine mining disaster that affected thousands of people. In Brazil, Liz Bonin explores the impact the disaster had on victims for the months and years following 5th November 2015. There are revelations of criminal charges made but then dropped, and we hear the evidence behind unsettling allegations — did the mine’s owners have prior knowledge of the dam's potential safety issues?
  • Pamela's Story

    This is an extended cut of the powerful interview Brazilian journalist Cristina Serra recorded with Pamela Isabel. Pamela is Emanuelle’s mother, the 5 year old girl who was torn from her fathers arms and killed by the toxic mud when the Fundao dam collapsed.
  • 2. 2. The Silence of Sirens

    This is the story of the Mariana dam disaster and how the 5th of November 2015 went from a calm and ordinary day, to a day marked by incredible catastrophe. In episode 2, we follow the toxic mud on its path of destruction and hear harrowing first hand accounts from victims spanning the length of the Doce River, including the heroic story of one woman who was the human siren in the silence.
  • 1. 1. "Low Risk"

    For hundreds of years, humans lived in harmony with the beautiful landscape alongside the River Doce in Brazil. It was a paradise, a place where plants grew in abundance and animals of vibrant colours lived happily. But once explorers arrived a new chapter began. In this episode, Liz Bonnin recounts the history of mining in the Brazilian state of  Minas Gerais, introducing to the key players of BHP, Vale and Samarco and we meet the people whose roots plunge deep into the earth of this place. What was life like before the 5th of November, 2015… and why did it all change?